Italy's Salvini visits Poland to discuss eurosceptic alliance for European Union elections

Remigio Civitarese
Gennaio 11, 2019

Italian ports remain closed for migrants rescued in the Mediterranean Sea by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini reaffirmed on Thursday, lashing out at European migration policy.

Members of Poland's populist ruling party are signalling some reservations about forming an alliance with the anti-migrant Italian League party.

Salvini's meeting later with Polish ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski is being watched as an early sign of whether the Italian firebrand can effectively mount a nationalist challenge at the European level. Commentators in Poland also argued that there are good reasons for Polish wariness about Salvini, who is seen as overly pro-Russian by many people in Poland, which has suffered under Moscow's rule for most of the past two centuries.

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"I proposed to the leader of PiS Jarosław Kaczyński, and I intend to propose it to others, a pact for Europe... in which Italians, Poles, Spaniards, Danes, and others can decide whether to agree or not".

"Poland and Italy will be part of the new spring of Europe, the renaissance of European values", he told reporters during a press conference with Poland's Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski.

The European Parliament elections, being held from May 23-26, are shaping up into a battle between liberal pro-EU forces, among them French President Emmanuel Macron, and populist euroskeptics represented by Salvini and far-right leaders including France's Marine Le Pen.

The vote could see nationalist and far-right parties across Europe upset the bloc's balance of power now dominated by the centre-right. He has repeatedly criticized the European Union and says the May elections are vital for creating a "reformist" bloc that can overhaul Brussels institutions from within.

"We have a new plan for Europe" meant to replace the dominant "French-German axis", he added.

Italy's hardline interior minister Matteo Salvini has rejected a European deal to end a deadlock that left 49 migrants adrift in the Mediterranean for almost three weeks.

As for Salvini's coalition partner, Luigi Di Maio, he is preparing an election manifesto with European populist groups that are in coherence with his M5S.

His aim, Salvini said, is to build "a common alliance of who wants to save Europe".

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